April 1, 2021
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Commissioner & Medical Officer of Health
Karen Redman, Regional Chair
Region of Waterloo, Public Health and Emergency Services
1st Floor, 150 Frederick Street
Kitchener, ON N2G 4J3
Dear Dr. Wang and Regional Chair,
As the Representatives of the Educational Assistants Association serving over 1000 Educational Assistants and Child & Youth Workers for the WRDSB, we implore you to prioritize the vaccination of special education workers in Phase 2 of our Region’s vaccine roll out.
These education workers support students with complex medical needs in school, paralleling the work of PSW and developmental service workers. Physical supports such as toileting, lifting, transferring, feeding, and personal hygiene are being performed by these frontline educators in congregated and regular classroom settings. These supports require close physical contact with many students unable to mask, physically distance, wash hands independently or communicate if they are unwell, putting these workers and the students they support at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.
As the Variants of Concern, with their higher transmission rates and probability to cause serious illness become prevalent in our region, it adds an even greater risk to students and staff in school settings. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of keeping students in classrooms. When schools were closed in January during the lockdown, it was special education staff who attended in-person to support the special needs of students. 
Vaccines will add another layer of protection of health and safety for our special education staff and the students they support. We respectfully ask that you consider our request to prioritize their vaccinations.
Colleen Dietrich Sisson
Educational Assistants Association
Lisa Weiler Haskins
Vice President
Educational Assistants Association

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